Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC), including basal and squamous cell carcinoma (BCC and SCC), represents the most common malignancy.
To provide guidance to Canadian health care practitioners regarding primary prevention of NMSC.
Structured literature searches were conducted, using search terms including prevention, sunscreen, and sun prevention factor. All recommendations concern guidance that physicians should regularly discuss with their patients to help establish photoprotection habits. The GRADE system was used to assign strength to each recommendation.
Ultraviolet exposure is the major modifiable risk factor for NMSC. Aspects of photoprotection, including effective sunscreen use and avoidance of both the midday sun and artificial tanning, are discussed. Several widespread misunderstandings that undermine responsible public health measures related to sun safety are addressed.
Photoprotection represents both an individual priority and a public health imperative. By providing accurate information during routine patient visits, physicians reinforce the need for ongoing skin cancer prevention.